Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. Can it be considered acceptable to use endnotes for some of the chapters of an edited volume (conference proceedings) and footnotes for others? After selecting a great design for layout where notes are placed in a narrow side column, we laid out about a quarter of the text and then discovered that some chapters have such extensive notes that they need to be made into chapter endnotes. We don’t want to change the overall design for a number of reasons. What we’d like to do is retain the side notes in the chapters for which they work, and use chapter endnotes in the chapters where side notes don’t work. Is it more important to maintain consistency in this situation than to preserve our design?

A. Your proposal preserves neither consistency nor design. If a design doesn’t serve the work, it should be modified until it works. I’m sorry that you’re left with this dilemma! A more thorough review of the entire manuscript before choosing a design would have prevented it. Readers are better served by consistency in collections like this; otherwise they find themselves constantly searching for the notes.